Zen Shiatsu: A Viable Intervention for Stress Reduction in Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder

Posted:Sunday, August 18, 2013

Gold Award Winner
Angela Burke from Boulder, CO

Objective- Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a developmental disability that manifests as impairments in social interaction, communication and behavior.  The objective of this study is to determine if Zen Shiatsu can reduce short and long-term stress levels in a child with ASD.

Methods- A seven-year-old male with a diagnosis of Autism was given twenty-minute Zen Shiatsu sessions weekly for six consecutive weeks.  Using a 5-point stress scale designed for children with Autism, the client indicated his stress level before each session, as well as afterward.  In addition, the parent was given the PEDS QL 4.0 Young Child Questionnaire to determine the child’s HRQoL (Health Related Quality of Life) prior to the six-week Zen Shiatsu treatment to establish a baseline.  The parent completed the same questionnaire after the six weeks of sessions to compare results.

Results-  Based on the 5-point pictorial stress scale, the client indicated that stress levels decreased after receiving Zen Shiatsu after all six sessions. The PEDS QL 4.0 showed higher HRQoL scores in all domains, indicating that the child’s overall quality of life improved within the six weeks of receiving Zen Shiatsu.

Conclusion-  Zen Shiatsu, a form of Traditional Chinese Medicine, has the potential to be a viable treatment for stress reduction in children with Autism Spectrum Disorder, therefore improving overall quality of life.